Refuge.

Qrow is sitting in a prison cell made of Hard-Light Dust. He is holding Clover's bloodied pin in his hand, staring somberly at it.

Robyn was pacing around inside her own cell sighs "This is your fault. You realize that, don't you? All I wanted was to bring people together, to give them a chance at a better life. But you…".

She angrily glares to the individual in the next cell over who turns out to be Jacques "Me? I am a victim!" Robyn scoffs upon hearing this "I'll admit I was duped. Used! And although my hands may not be clean, at least I am not a murderer!".

Qrow looks up upon hearing that. Robyn gives him a sympathetic look "He didn't kill anybody… And I'm not gonna stand here and be lectured by some snake with a mustache who helped that man tear us all apart!".

Qrow and Jacques look over to another adjacent cell, where said man is revealed as Watts, shown contently lying down on his bench with his hands propped behind his head.

Watts raised his hand "Yes, well… I suppose we're all stuck in it together now".

Jacques smiles "Speak for yourself, I know the right people. I'm sure Whitley has reached out to my legal team and will have me out of here before you can say-".

"SHUT UP!" Robyn punches the Hard-Light Dust wall, startling Jacques.

Suddenly, a buzzer sound is heard, getting the prisoners' attention. Qrow hides Clover's pin as a squad of Atlesian military soldiers enter the room and disable the hard-light Dust for Watts' cell and enter.

"You do realize you already caught me?" Watts asked.

One of the soldiers uses his gun to bash Watts' head, knocking him out and startling Jacques. The prisoners watch on as the soldiers drag Watts away and out of the room.

Robyn sighs "I hate not being able to do anything…"

"We can do something…" Qrow lifts his head up with a dark look in his eyes "We can kill the man who put us here...".

"You were thrown in here for a murder you didn't commit. Now you actually want to become a murderer? I see not thinking things through must run in the family" Came another voice of a person who had been silent this whole time... Fareeha.

"Well look who finally found her voice again. Say, how did they catch you anyway?" Robyn asked.

"They didn't. I turned myself in" Fareeha answered.

Qrow and Robyn looked surprised with the former speaking "What? Why?".

"Because unlike all the other self righteous idiots, I believe I deserve to be punished for my part in causing all this!" Fareeha said with clear anger in her tone "Everyone else refuses to admit it, but this whole situation is at least partly our fault. We are liars and hypocrites. At least I can admit that".

There was a silence until Qrow spoke "If you really believe that... then how did Yang take your decision?".

Fareeha turns away, her face and voice turning more hurt and sad "If she loved me as much as she claimed... she would've been honest with me. Shows how much trust there was in our relationship".

No one said a word after that.


A news report is playing, showing a picture of James Ironwood with the symbol of Atlas behind him. The news network Atlas Eye has the subtitle "DEVELOPING STORY: GENERAL IRONWOOD HALTS MANTLE EVACUATIONS" displayed on the bottom of the screen.

"With still no word from General Ironwood, Mantle citizens are frightened and perplexed by the sudden withdrawal of military personnel, especially given the massive Grimm horde outside the kingdom. I've… never seen anything quite like this" The Reporter said as civilians are evacuating in the streets. Joanna is seen looking over it before turning around to notice the news team "It truly feels like the end of days, but the Atlas Eye is committed to updating the public, until our dying-" Suddenly, Joanna grabs the microphone from the reporter "Wha-? Hey, wait!".

Joanna stabs her weapon in the ground and glares at the reporter, startling him. She then looks to the camera and starts speaking "Citizens of Mantle, General Ironwood has abandoned you, but we have not! If you can hear this, gather any food and supplies you need to stay warm, then head to the Mantle crater. The Grimm are starting to make their way back into the city, but we can hold the line if we all come together. If we don't, well… you've all seen what's waiting for us out in the storm. It's time to show your teeth, Mantle".

While that was happening, Genji cleared out some grimm. There was no people in this area, but it was best to make sure no grimm found anyone who was still evacuating. He looked around and sighed. Fighting without his team felt wrong. And the reason he wasn't with the others was because he needed some time to himself, after all the emotional outbursts that happened earlier, which split what remained of his team in different directions.

Suddenly he was contacted by Yang "Genji we have secured another group. Bringing them to the crater now".

"Understood, I will keep patrolling to make sure no one was left behind. And I will take out any grimm I find" Genji answered.

"You know you could regroup with us, Genji. It would be a lot easier if we did this together" Yang said.

"Thank you Yang. But I'll be fine" Genji said before he heard something in the distance "Something is happening. I will take care of it. I'll contact you if I need back up".

With that he headed in the direction of the noises. When he arrived her saw it was Jack. Who was killing a bunch of grimm. After he was done he studied the bodies but seemingly couldn't find whatever he was searching for. He shook his head and began moving on. Genji jumped down from the building he was on.

"Jack" He called out.

Jack stopped and turned his head "Oh, it's you. Need something?".

"I just noticed you were here. I am working with the others to evacuate the people to the crater where it's safer. We could use your help" Genji said.

"No thanks, I am busy. I am hunting a grimm" Jack said.

"That's part of our job too. Save people and kill grimm" Genji said.

"I am not hunting some grimms. I am hunting A grimm. This one is different from the rest. Big, strong, but most of all, it's smart. When I faced it, it only fought me for a few moments before leaving. A very unusual behaviour for a grimm. Only reason I can think of why it wouldn't continue the fight, is because I was not it's target. Meaning it's hunting something, or someone. And I'd rather take it down before it founds whatever it's searching for" Jack said.

"In that case let me help" Genji said.

"No thank you, I work alone" Jack said as he began to walk.

"I understand. But if this grimm is as dangerous as you make it sound, it would be better to have allies helping you" Genji said.

"Good advice, if I had any allies left" Jack said bitterly.

Genji looked confused "What do you mean? I am your ally".

"Are you?!" Jack snapped as he turned around "I find that hard to believe after all the shit you and your bastard friends pulled!".

Genji took a step back "You are mad at us...".

"Mad? I am pissed! You brats have been nothing but trouble ever since you came here! When were you planing on sharing the news about Salem? Or about everything else you kept from us!?" Jack demanded.

"Then... You know..." Genji realized.

"Yes, but I clearly didn't learn about it from any of you. You claimed to be our allies, but you kept dangerous secrets and didn't bother to share until after Salem was right at our door steps! And after all the verbale assaults your friends threw at Ironwood which bordered on mental torture, all for keeping secrets. Yet you were keeping secrets yourselves. Do I need to explain how hypocritical that is?" Jack asked.

Genji looked down "We... did what we thought was best".

"So is Ironwood. As far as I'm concerned, there is no difference between you kids and him. I lost someone I cared very deeply about, all because of one of your friends. You can all go to hell" Jack said darkly before walking away.

Genji remained on his spot before punching a wall "Damn it...!".


Elsewhere in Mantle, Penny is standing on a rooftop, taking a long look at the civilians making their way to the crater. Behind her, May is seen removing the Chain to a fence with a label that says Authorised Personnel Only. Lena, Hana, Weiss, Ruby, Blake and Nora watch May as she opens the gate.

"Nice place" Hana commented.

"Alright, come on" May said.

Penny turns around as Weiss and Ruby walk in, following them. Lena, Han Nora, Blake and May soon follow

Nora pauses next to May "Thanks again for coming".

"Don't mention it. Once Robyn learned about Amity Tower, she wouldn't shut up about it. Wherever she is, I'm sure she would want us doing what we can to get it up in the air and get the world talking again" May Closes the gate once everyone is on the other side "Besides, Fiona's got your friends helping out in my stead".

Nora looks away "Yeah".

The group head towards what looks like a factory.

"Are you sure this is safe?" Ruby asked.

Inside, numerous robots are seen manning devices next to large, slightly transparent tubes. A package goes up one of the tubes with an audible whoosh. The robots do not react as the group walks in.

"Snow Shoe Shipping is an SDC subsidiary, meaning all the drones here report to the company, not the general. The pneumatic tubes allow for Dust refined in the crater to be sent straight up to Atlas. We just need to find the one for the military base" Weiss explained.

"Are there any buildings in Atlas that your family doesn't own?" Blake asked and Nora giggles at the comment.

"Yeah, at this point I wonder if you are secretly the heiress of the entire kingdom, ice queen" Hana added.

Weiss looks at them with her eyes half closed "That, isn't relevant at the moment. And don't calle me Ice Queen!".

Blake and Hana giggles as well before the group disperses. Penny stops to stare at a panel that says Terminal Destination: Atlas Academy.

"Hey" Ruby said behind her.

Penny turns her head to look at Ruby, who approaches her "I do not like it when friends fight".

Ruby looked away "I know. Yang and I may not agree on how best to save Mantle but-".

"No. I mean Winter. The general. They were our friends. But then the Ace Ops attacked you" Penny looks at the ground "And the general, he said people were going to die, because of us... And look at Lena...".

Ruby looked at her girlfriend who was sitting by herself, looking absolutely terrible "I will talk to her, Penny. After all I am her girlfriend".

Penny nods "I don't like seeing her like that. I like her when she smiles".

Ruby nods in agreement before heading over to Lena "You alright?".

"Do I need to answer that?" Lena asked, no amount of confidance in her voice.

"You're right, that was a stupid question" Ruby admitted.

Lena sighs "Sorry, I'm not trying to be mean to you... it's just... what Ironwoood said... people are going to die, because of me".

Ruby gets Infront of Lena and grabs her shoulders before looking her in the eyes "That was a lie. And he was only saying it to hurt you".

"But what if it wasn't a lie!?" Lena said as she stands up, forcing Ruby to let go as Lena took a few steps away from her "What if he's right? I took the maiden power without even thinking! Power I don't even understand".

"You kept it out of Cinder's hands, Lena. And you protected everyone" Ruby argued.

"And by doing that I've made myself the target of pretty much every bad person we know of!" Lena said before letting out a frustrated sigh "Yang was right... by becoming the maiden I turned myself in to a walking danger zone. Everyone close to me could die, just because our enemies wanted me".

Ruby grabbed Lena and turned her around "Stop it Lena! You are not alone in this. So stop acting like you are! We are in this together. We all knew the dangers of our actions but we did it anyway. If anyone comes after you, I will help you. Maiden power or not, I would still help you. So don't shut me out... please".

Lena was silent at that... she just didn't know what to say. Ruby looked sad. She hated seeing Lena like this. This was not the girl she fell in love with. She wanted the old Lena back. The one who was always hopeful, happy and strong... but now Lena was just depressed.

"I found it!" Nora called out making everyone walk over to her.

"I suppose there's no turning back now" Blake said.

May points at Penny and Lena "Between our secret weapons, and my Semblance" She becomes invisible for a second "You all couldn't be in better hands".

"So how do we use this thing?" Nora asked.

Weiss makes her way to the tube and sits where the cargo is loaded "It should be simple. If you lie back in the tube and press launch-".

Nora presses a button on the nearby console, sending Weiss up the tube, causing her to scream in surprise. As the others look on with bewildered expressions, Nora expresses joy at the sight.


A while later, Yang is riding her hover bike in the city while being chased by a Teryx. Ren and Oscar are following them on a side street while sharing another hover bike, with ren as the driver. They had been sent to deal with some Grimm. They had already told Genji and he was on his way.

"Ready?" Oscar pulls out a device that looks like a stick grenade. Yang takes a couple of shots at the Teryx to slow it down.

"Now!" Yang passes a rock bridge where the Grimm-like figure from earlier was perched. It decides to quickly dash off of the bridge before the Teryx collides with it.

Ren turns right and cuts in between Yang and the Teryx, allowing Oscar to throw the grenade in the Grimm's path. It explodes in a flash of wind dust, launching the Teryx into the stone bridge, breaking one of it's wings and knocking it to the ground.

Yang turns her bike around and smirks at the Grimm. She moves the bike to the the side, allowing Jaune to charge at the Teryx while standing on his hover bike, with the barrier dust on his shield active. He successfully decapitates the Grimm, after which he has some trouble maintaining his balance on the bike. He lands on it properly while giving a nervous chuckle.

Yang contacts Fiona with a sigh "Okay, Fiona. That's one more problem taken care of".

"Good, cause we're getting reports of more Grimm coming in from the west. The Huntsmen there could really use some backup" Fiona said.

Yang sighs as she slumps in her seat "Okay. We're on our way".

"It's all the negativity. Salem's forces aren't moving in, but it's enough to start attracting the stragglers" Oscar said.

"Guys, we're not finished" Ren said as three Sabyr appear and charge towards the group.

Yang got ready "All right. We need to hurry this up and take-".

The Sabyr's look to their right before turning back and running in the opposite direction.

"What just happened?" Ren asked confused

Jaune was equally confused "They ran. I've never seen Grimm act that way before".

"But what were they running fro-" Oscar is suddenly tackled from above by a Grimm, called The Hound, knocking both him and Ren off the bike. Oscar tries to stand up only to be bitten by the arm and get flung to the ground once more.

"Oscar!" Ren called out.

The Grimm pounces on Oscar with all its weight, causing his aura to shimmer. Oscar tries to kick one of it's legs away, only for The Hound to bite it knock him to the ground a third time. With a final swipe with its paw, Oscar's aura breaks and he goes unconscious.

The Hound howls, before its body begins to twitch and spasm. It's body pulses and morphs, as Jaune looks on in horror. The Hound stands up, revealing that he assumed a bipedal form in order to lift and hold the unconscious Oscar with one hand.

Yang finally wakes up from her stupor and charges the beast, preparing to punch it "Oscar!".

A look of panic crosses her face before she grabs the handle in order to try to turn away from the grimm. The Hound catches her with it's other hand and throws her at a nearby wall, cracking it.

Ren takes a couple of shots at The Hound's back, causing it to turn around and be stabbed by the grappling hooks of Ren's guns. Ren reels the hooks in, intending to kick the Grimm. The Hound's right hand pulses before it grows longer, allowing it to whip Ren off of his bike and into another wall. Jaune Prepares to charge in as well, before The hound lifts Oscar in between it and Jaune

"Wait! It's using Oscar as a shield" Yang said.

"But Grimm aren't that smart" Jaune said.

Suddenly some shurikens hits The Hound in the back. It growls as it looks up to see Genji leaping down from the building, forcing it to step aside to avoid a strike from his dragon blade. Genji moves in for another strike, only for the large grimm to hold up Oscar, forcing Genji to stop his swing just before he could hit Oscar. This brief distraction allowed The Hound to deliver a hard strike to Genji's face, knocking him away, sending him across the ground.

Ren picks up his guns and aims at the Grimm. The Hound overhears and places Oscar in between it and Ren "Give him back!".

The Hound holds Oscar back before it's neck pulses and shifts... then it did something... something no one would ever expect from a grimm "No...".

Genji, Ren, Jaune and Yang look on in shock as the Hound starts to walk away from the group. It spoke... the grimm actually talked.

"Did it just...?" Jaune trailed of.

The Hound pauses, it's back pulsing and morphing again. Several cracks could be heard as it twitched and howled. With a final roar, black ooze erupts from it's back to reveal wings. One such drop falls on Oscar's face. It grabs Oscar with it's mouth, before taking off to the skies.

"OSCAR!" Genji shouts as he runs up a wall and uses it to leap after The Hound.

The grimm noticed him and quickly spins around, smacking Genji with it's claws, and causing him to fall. Before Genji could hit the ground, Yang caught him and he spins around her before sitting down behind her as she drives the hover bike. They hurried to follow The Hound, but it was fast, and already had a head start.

This whole situation just became a lot more difficult.

.

Tell me what you think.